We were probably all told by our parents that we are expensive at some point during our childhood. I know I heard it all the time from my dad, but that was because every time he gave me money for something I never returned the change. I recently read an article from CNNMoney that said the cost of raising a child has risen $8,000 over the last year. This brings the estimated cost of raising a child for middle class families to $235,000 over 17 years. Now that I am new father I like to pay attention to these statistics even though I know every family is going to be different.
At first glance, I thought $235,000 was a little high, but then I started breaking down the various categories it made the amount seem more reasonable. The three categories that caught my attention are housing, childcare/education and food. Here is a quick breakdown of each of the three expense:
Housing ($70,500) – This amount breaks down to a monthly cost of $346. I am not sure how they get this number, but it seems a little excessive. I guess if you include the need for a larger home and the increase in utilities this number might be accurate. I would have estimated around $250 a month.
Childcare/Education ($41,000) – This amount breaks down to a monthly cost of $201. I will not dispute this number because I calculated that we will spend approximately $31,000 in the first five years for full-time day care. The day care we take our daughter to is one of the most reasonable in my area. If we only spend $10,000 over the last 12 years I will be extremely happy because even public school have all kinds of miscellaneous costs.
Food ($38,000) – This amount breaks down to a monthly cost of $186. I think this number is accurate and I think it could even be higher. If my kids eat like I did I might go bankrupt. This amount means you are spending an average of $6 a day on food for your kid. I remember school lunches were not cheap. Packing lunch may be cheaper, but they are not free. I know this number is just an estimation, but I think it is a little low.
If you want to calculate how much it will cost for you to raise a child here is a calculator from the USDA. After breaking down the costs I think overall $235,000 is reasonable. That may seem like a lot of money, but don’t let it deter you from having a child. My little girl is only 5 months old and she is worth every penny. Come on, I had to get sappy on you for a second.
Do you think these numbers are accurate? Is there anything you would adjust higher or lower?
“We never know the love of the parent till we become parents ourselves.” ~ Henry Ward Beecher